The collective sigh you heard from East Lansing last week, was from the Spartans imposing their will on the visiting Hoosiers and showing that this is not the same MSU team as in years past. This team showed they will not fold like a tent after two tough losses to Wisconsin and Northwestern.
Now comes the real test - Ohio State was bumped up to Number One after both LSU and Cal lost last week.
Without being too much of a slappy, I believeMSU has a shot at the Buckeyes. Sure it happened nine years ago. There has been no shortage of stories about that game this week.
But I believe MSU has a shot because the coaching staff learned its lesson after the Northwestern game and it showed last week. They will win games this season by running the ball, running it again and then running it some more. Last week, MSU ran the ball, Javon Ringer had over 200 yards as the Spartans kept the ball for over 40 minutes.,
The OSU defense is solid, no doubt about it, but MSU needs to pound the ball again and again to slow the game down, move the chains and keep the Buckeye offense off the field.
I have been correct with the vast majority of my predictions this season, this one may be the wildest.
It's homecoming in East Lansing, and its a night game. That should lead to a Michigan State victory tonight against the Indiana Hoosiers - and Michigan State needs it badly.
Tonight is the night the Spartans have to prove they are different from the teams of the past few years when they imploded under John L. Smith. They blew their first opportunity to prove that last week against lowly Northwestern.
I expect Coach Dantonio to run the ball and continue running the ball, even if the game gets tight. Indiana leads the nation in sacks, so the Spartans can avoid that issue altogether be handing the ball to Javon Ringer and JehuuCaulcrick time and time again. Last week, in overtime, MSU chose to throw the ball four straight times despite Ringer running all over the Wildcats. It didn't work, and I believe the coaching staff will have learned its lesson.
The MSU secondary will have to play MUCH better than it did last week as well to control the IU passing attack led by Kellen Lewis and James Hardy. Lewis will also run the ball, they have plenty of options to go to.
However, when it is all said and done, MSU will learn from its mistakes from a week ago. They will be able to run the ball and the defense will tackle better and the Spartans will earn their first Big Ten win.
Alright, so I did not offer any predictions prior to last weeks game against Northwestern. If I would have done so, I would have been absolutely incorrect, because the idea of a debacle like that did not cross my mind once as I was thinking about that game.
So this is it. It is the seventh game of the Mark Dantonio era and the team has hit a crossroads. All of the talk leading into the Northwestern game was about how this team was different than teams of the past. It was about how they would not fold up like a lawn chair after the tough loss at Wisconsin.
They folded. They gave up 600+ yards to a Northwestern team which lost to Duke earlier in the year.
This is where Dantonio has to make his mark. It is Homecoming. It is a night game. It is a game the Spartans need to win if they have hopes of making a bowl and getting the critics off their back.
The last five games of this season are not as winnable as the first seven have been. This is a must win.